Sunderland vow to ‘rise again’ following relegation to League One

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Sunderland have vowed to “rise again” after their relegation to Sky Bet League One was confirmed.

Having lost their Premier League status last year, the Black Cats made it back-to-back demotions following a 2-1 defeat by Burton on Saturday.

A matter of hours after manager Chris Coleman apologised to fans and described the “brutal experience” of going down, a formal statement arrived on behalf of the club itself.

Neither owner Ellis Short, whose future remains shrouded in doubt, or chief executive Martin Short, were mentioned by name and the message directly referenced a lack of clarity about the future running of the organisation.

It read: “Confirmation of relegation has been the culmination of what has been a demoralising season for everyone.

“Whilst naturally we feel devastated today, there remains a burning desire from within to rebuild and reinvigorate the club.

“As we look at how to best achieve this, it must be recognised that we are in a period of uncertainty in relation to the club’s future ownership and the resolution of this will be the driving factor in how we move forward.

“Sunderland AFC is so much more than a football club. It is an institution that has been at the very heart of its city and community for almost 140 years.

“It is built on a deep-rooted passion that is proudly passed from generation to generation and it is this enduring and unwavering passion that gives us the strength and fortitude we need in times of challenge.”

The statement indicated relegation represented a major disappointment against modest expectations but reiterated the reliance on the club’s fans.

“We began the campaign realistic in the knowledge that with the backdrop of relegation from the Premier League and our financial position, it would be a significant challenge to make an immediate return to the top flight,” it said.

“However, it was not envisaged nor expected that we would subsequently be facing the prospect of League One football, which makes this position all the harder to take.

“Despite the difficulties we have faced, our fans have been a shining light. They have continued to back the team in their thousands, which has been incredibly humbling to see.

“We are truly sorry that we have not been able to give them the positive outcome such tremendous support deserves.

“This is also a huge blow for our staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the season under testing circumstances and uncertainty. We applaud them for their resilience and dedication; they are fans of the club too and like our supporters, they are hurting.”

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